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Love, unity and a bike. It’s that time of year again

Love, unity and a bike. It’s that time of year again

See full article here: https://www.voice-online.co.uk/entertainment/2023/07/17/love-unity-and-a-bike-its-that-time-of-year-again/

ARE YOU ready to ride out for this year’s Black Unity Bike Ride (BUBR)? The route has changed but the FUNdamentals remain the same.

The 16-mile ride is a celebration of Black empowerment, unity and love. Last year saw over 1,000 registered participants take part as the movement continues to go from strength to strength.

The event kicks-off at Leyton Sports Ground in east London and concludes at the BUBR Fest in partnership with BlackEatsLDN at Dulwich Park, south London via central London. 

The Voice Newspaper sat down with Tokunbo Ajasa-Oluwa, founder of BUBR, to find out what the plans were for this year’s ride on August 5.

The Voice Newspaper: How is the original BUBR mission going and how has that mission evolved in the last three years? 

Tokunbo: The original mission was to celebrate Black unity and increase ethnic diversity in the sport of cycling. We are doing very well with both, which has seen the creation of the BUBR Alliance, which is made up of 17 Black-led cycling collectives in London. It’s also seen the launch of BUBR Africa — an annual cycling tour to the continent. 2023 was the first year and we went to Ghana, 2024 we head to Rwanda. We also partnered with top cycling brand Le Col to produce our exclusive kit. In three years we’ve established ourselves as a valued entity serving our community. The vision going forward is to do that on a larger scale and grow our community.

The Voice Newspaper: Very few organisations are addressing the under-representation of Black cyclists in the UK. As each year has passed, what does that look like from a BUBR perspective?
T: We believe in collaboration, and this is exactly why we formed the BUBR Alliance. When BUBR started in 2020, I only knew of a handful of Blackled cycling collectives and now we know of 20-plus, all catering for a variety of needs and abilities. We are seeing positive change, but more can be done.

The Voice Newspaper: Can you tell us about the BUBR recent jaunt to Ghana, your first overseas activation?
T: BUBR Africa took 20 of our community to Ghana, we covered about 500km and raised over £10,000 for a local NGO that supports young girls to cycle in eastern Ghana. It was a very special trip, and through cycling we were able to experience Ghana in a unique way as well as make a positive social impact on the ground.

The Voice Newspaper: For those that can’t make it overseas, what are some of the monthly activations organised by BUBR apart from the annual bike ride?
T: Many of the cycling collectives within the BUBR Alliance have weekly rides that take place in and around London. Other specific BUBR activations take place at the VeloPark in east London – giving our community the unique experience of riding for the first time on an Olympic track.

The Voice Newspaper: So, the August 2023 ride, there have been a few changes, we understand. Tell us about those and generally what can riders expect this year?
T: Riders can expect to experience vibes upon vibes. We have moved the end location to Dulwich Park, which will also host the celebratory finale to the ride known as BUBRFest. As it’s in the month of August, it’s literally a carnival on bikes!

The Voice Newspaper: Last year’s ride won huge praise for the level or organisation – it helped that you had the weather – but how do you hope to improve on the experience this year?
T: We will work closely with our operational partners to take on board the feedback we got from last year and aspire to raise the quality levels even higher. We are only three years old and still in the start-up phase, but see each year as a chance to improve. A big objective for us this year is to secure 300 volunteers, which is something we have never done to date.

The Voice Newspaper: Is it easier with each year to attract riders, and what are the challenges we don’t see?
T: Although we do get new riders each year, I do still feel we are a best-kept secret, so spreading the word is a big thing for us. The biggest challenges, though, are the logistics, we have to partner with many authorities and suppliers to pull off the event successfully each year. It takes a huge team effort, and a lot of that work is done by passionate volunteers.

The Voice Newspaper: Why did BUBR introduce a minimum donation fee for registration, and how much did it generate in donations?
T: The annual ride has significant direct costs, the donations received cover about 10 per cent of our costs, but is valued. This is a community event, so it’s important that all stakeholders invest in its existence and growth, and that includes participants too.

The Voice Newspaper: What were the direct costs of organising last year’s event, and what percentage of those costs did the donations cover?
T: The ride’s direct costs last year were £60,000-plus in kind support. The entry donations were £6,000.

The Voice Newspaper: What are you most looking forward to this year. Last year you kicked things off with your son, a beautiful image, can you top that? And he’s still very young but does he want to ride again this year?
T: This year I’m hoping to ride out with my wife and two children for the first time. And I’m really looking forward to hearing the speaker boxes bumping music as we ride through central London. That moment always gives me chills!

Register for the 2023 BUBR at www.curtisr57.sg-host.com